Let's face it - the economy hasn't gotten much better. Many families are still struggling and looking for easy ways to save. One populaoption
for consumers to pad their bank accounts is to sell their timeshares. BBB wants to ensure timeshare sellers have all the right steps to prevent getting swindled out of the return on their investment.
While timeshare owners are looking to unload the financial burden, unfortunately, not as many vacationers are buying. Timeshare sales dropped 40 percent in 2009, according to the American Resort Development Association. As a result, timeshare owners who are eager to sell are increasingly susceptible to offers that are too good to be true.
“With the economy the way it is, timeshare owners are looking to cash in their investment. The problem is, no one is buying," said Robert Shomphe, President of BBB New Hampshire. “Unfortunately, some timeshare resellers are taking advantage of the situation by misleading timeshare owners into paying top dollar in the hopes of a quick sell that doesn't come.”
Not all timeshare companies are deceitful, but it is important to check out a company prior to signing the dotted line. In fact, many consumers have already taken to researching timeshare companies before doing business. In 2011, with 5,487 inquiries with BBB, SellMyTimeShareNOW had more consumer inquiries than any other business reported in the state.
BBB wants to make sure you aren't getting conned by your timeshare reseller. We offer the following advice to owners looking for help in selling their timeshare:
For more advice you can trust on how to stretch your dollar in a tough economy, visit www.concord.bbb.org.
- Use a Business You can Trust – Make sure the timeshare reseller you use is a BBB Accredited Business or has a good rating with BBB. You can check out a business’s BBB Business Review at www.search.bbb.org.
- Confirm Licensing Requirements – Some timeshare resellers will use fake addresses or PO boxes in order to mislead timeshare owners. Confirm where the company is located and in what states it does business. Ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. If so, verify this with the state licensing board.
- Get the Facts on the Figures – Find out if the business charges a commission. Do they handle the entire closing and provide escrow services? Do they charge an up-front listing or advertising fee? What does it cover and is it refundable?
- Be Wary of Upfront Fees – Many complainants to BBB were burned by companies charging an advance "appraisal" fee for services or were told that they just had to pay closing costs and the timeshare would be taken off their hands. Consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only after the timeshare is sold.
- Don’t Fall for the Hard Sell or an Offer that Sounds Too Good to Be True – Don’t agree to anything over the phone but instead ask the salesperson to send you written materials; take the time to think it over and don’t be pressured. Unscrupulous timeshare resellers may claim that your property is in demand and they can sell it immediately; unfortunately, these promises are often empty.
- Know your State Laws - According to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office, all "timesharing" developments must be registered with the Attorney General's office before the sale or offer to sell. The law requires that all material facts are presented to buyers prior to the sale. All buyers' deposits must be held in escrow until the closing and buyers usually have five days after signing the purchase contract or five days after receiving the public offering statement (whichever is later) to cancel their purchase.
For 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2011, consumers turned to BBB more than 100 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. For more information on businesses you can trust, contact BBB Serving New Hampshire at 603-224-1991.